Help Sought for Disaster-Stricken Responders

Following the devastating tornado in Joplin, Missouri this weekend as well as other recent storms and wildfires across the nation, the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) seeks to remind first responders about the Volunteer Firefighter Support Fund, which helps volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel impacted by large-scale disasters.

"Throughout all of these emergencies, communities have relied on the dedication and services of emergency responders. However, often these first responders are also victims, suffering from property damage and loss along with their communities," the NVFC released in a press statement.

Through the Volunteer Firefighter Support Fund, volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel affected by state- or federally-declared disasters can apply for a stipend of $250 to help meet basic needs in the aftermath of the disaster.

The fund relies on the donations of individuals and organizations. The NVFC reports that it donates all administrative costs associated with managing the fund, so that all donations go directly to helping volunteer first responders.

The fund was established in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, and has distributed almost half a million dollars to volunteer first responders in need, the NVFC reports.

To receive a stipend, the first responder must be an active volunteer firefighter, rescue worker, or EMS provider, be from an NVFC member state as an individual or department member of the state association, live (or have housing) in a state- or federally-declared disaster area, and have incurred an uninsurable loss in excess of $5,000.

To apply for disaster relief or to make a tax-deductible contribution, visit